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Ok, well Ive come down to wanting a full time *Nix desktop. But I still would like to Keep my Windows Xp(For using the NWN Aurora Editor, and other Windows games) since windows aps run best on windows. I plan to do the dual boot on my next clean format of windows, so everything will be backed up before hand. Here's my questions/concerns:
1) Will a dual boot have any technical issues AFTER its been done, as in will Grub fritz randomly and not boot one of my OS's?
2) I know I cant write to NTFS without risking corrupting the filesystem, but is there a way to mount my linux partitions in Windows? I plan on making a 5-10 gig fat32 partition for storing my music and other things that I would use in both OS's.
3) Is there any risk of loosing data AFTER the dual boot is setup? I image a lot of hard drives onto my windows box for my dad's customers. They are all temporary but still.
4) Overall, is dual booting a good idea, or should I just wait and get another machine? I do have another one, its just a pain to have two comps on my desk, even if one is a shuttle.
Dual booting is fine and dandy. Grub shouldn't have any problems.
The problem with sharing stuff between OSes is having a partition that you can r/w from in both OSes - I wouldn't recommend Fat32, honestly. It may work with a small partition size, but I'm not sure.
You can get NTFS drivers that'll allow Linux to r/w from an NTFS partition, so give that a try. Captive NTFS is one of them. You can also get software that'll allow you to r/w Linux partitions (Paragon).
GRUB can be convinced to boot most systems, though every now and then there is a system that requires extra tweaking and convincing. I typically boot ten systems from a single disk using GRUB.
I recommend using FAT32 to read and write stuff common to both Windows and Linux. NTFS support is getting much better, but read and write access is still debatable unless you're sure you have the latest and greatest. FAT32 read/write access is very well tested out.
Dual booting is a good idea, but do make sure that you back up data. Until people gain experience, problems sometimes do happen, though most of the time, it's operator error. Like anything else, though, hard disks go bad and from time to time, software problems arise. Back up just to be safe.
That said, I multiboot every day and have done so since 1999.